2018 Capital Fringe Review: metamorphose

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Jo Williamson is the creator and performer behind metamorphose, a solo production stitched together out of some musical storytelling and the patterns of Martha Graham-like modern dance.

As its name suggests, the piece is based on Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a Latin poem in which nymphs, goddesses, and even ordinary mortals are transformed into other creatures.

For example, when Daphne, the nymph, finds that she can’t escape the clutches of Apollo—who is consumed with lust for her, having just been shot by Eros–she turns into a tree. Arachne, a weaver who boasts that she is better than Minerva herself, is turned into a spider.

In both cases—and in many others like them—the character is metamorphosed into an object or creature from which she cannot escape. But there is no aftermath. Each transformation is final.

As a result, the myths—regardless of whether they are about Persephone or Calliope, Hecuba or her stupid son Paris (the one who brought all the trouble on Troy)—all begin to blend together. Even though the stories are distinct, they begin to look and sound very similar.

Williamson sings her stories in a clear sweet voice and moves gracefully across the small patch of floor that serves as her modest stage. Occasionally, she sings in harmony with her own recorded voice, creating a sound that might be lovely in another context.

In this one, however, the device only lengthens the performance. metamorphose is too flimsy and repetitious a piece to carry the weight it tries to assume.

Running time: 45 minutes, with no intermission.

metamorphose plays through July 29, 2018, at St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church—555 Water St, SW, Washington, DC. For tickets, call 866-811-4111, or go online.

Rating:

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